The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

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The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

by Ayana Mathis

HarperCollins Publishers Ltd | December 6, 2012 | Hardcover

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is rated 3.5 out of 5 by 6.

Oprah''s Book Club 2.0 Pick!

In 1923, seventeen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia for Philadelphia, where, though her first two babies die because she can''t afford medicine, she keeps nine children alive with old southern remedies and sheer love. Saddled with a husband who brings her nothing but disappointment, she prepares her children for a world she knows will not be kind to them. Their trials are the trials on which the history of America was forged, a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, and a force stronger than love or trouble: the determination to get by and get through. A searing portrait of an unforgettable family, an emotionally transfixing drama of human striving in the face of insurmountable adversity and a ferocious vision of humanity at its most threadbare and elemental, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie introduces a writer of the very first order.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 243 pages, 9.5 × 6.5 × 0.88 in

Published: December 6, 2012

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1443423467

ISBN - 13: 9781443423465

Found in: Fiction and Literature
From its devastating first chapter to its perfect last sentence, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie never ceases to astonish. Ayana Mathis’ first novel is one of the strongest debuts of 2012, and will be talked about, shared and loved for years to come. Mathis tells the story of Hattie Shepherd as she and her family navigate, negotiate, and survive the twentieth century. Each chapter moves from child to child, and through them Mathis paints a portrait of a mother who has sacrificed everything, not for her children’s happiness, but for their mere existence. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is an accomplishment in that even while Mathis shows us the depths of selfishness, cruelty, and betrayal, she finds moments to let a ray of light shine through dirty windows. She allows her characters to be real – infuriatingly and often tragically real – but so real that you’ll be frustrated at their failings and joyful at their moments of quiet optimism. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is a book that will live with you long after the last page. It is a book that showcases the talent of a powerful new voice in fiction, and it is certainly a book that deserves to be on everyone’s list this holiday. I loved, loved, loved this book.

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Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from Multi-generational tragedy This book sat on my shelf for years. It was completely unexpected and reads like a dozen short stories tied together by Hattie. Each chapter tells the tragic tale of another of Hattie's children, their quests for love and acceptance, and their ongoing unfortunate circumstances. As per usual with an Oprah's pick, the book was a bit depressing and sad. But, I was more "entertained" than I anticipated.
Date published: 2014-05-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So sad This novel was heartbreaking, and not because the writer was attempting to write a "sad story". It is heartbreaking because it is so true to life. Not everything smells like roses, and there are few who end up where they want to be. A mother does everything out of love for her children, and her children do not feel loved. I could cry thinking about this book.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from blah I thought it was boring.There wasn't one endearing character.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Twelve Cheers! First time author Ayana Mathis scores big with this riveting tale about a mother raising nine children in poverty stricken Philadelphia. Each chapter is devoted to a child where we learn about their relationship with Hattie and her shortcomings as a mother and wife. Hattie's anger and bitterness leaves her children lacking and her husband wanting. I'm still not sure if I liked Hattie but I loved this book! Ingenious way to tell a story.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from The Twelve Tribes of Hattie This book is both a Heather's Pick and a selection for the Oprah Book Club 2.0. Many people will buy it for those reasons, and many people will be disappointed. If people like a book to have at least a spark of happiness in it somewhere, they will be disappointed. There is no joy to be found in the tribes of Hattie. If people like characters to journey through hardships to redemption, they will be disappointed. The unfortunate tribes of Hattie spiral into disillusionment or bitterness. The book introduces us to the many children of Hattie Shepherd. An unplanned teenage pregnancy starts Hattie on her long road of motherhood, and we read how the lives of her children unfold in any number of dysfunctional ways. Each chapter features a different child or two, and the stories of those children overlap with those of the others in the family only peripherally. The result is disjointed and unsatisfying. The word "tribe" in the title misleads prospective book buyers into believing that they will read about a family with a long reach and lingering legacy. The reality of the story is the opposite. The characters strangle themselves with their own flaws and sputter out before reaching far or creating legacy. Hattie and her husband, August, are the only threads that run through the book, and they are not easy characters to love. The author alludes to the biblical story of Job. Even Job gets to see God at the end of his story. He has his fortune restored and then doubled. Poor Hattie. She just walks away from the church, still struggling to show someone some tenderness.
Date published: 2013-11-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I loved this book! From its devastating first chapter to its perfect last sentence, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie never ceases to astonish. Ayana Mathis’ first novel is one of the strongest debuts of 2012, and will be talked about, shared and loved for years to come. Mathis tells the story of Hattie Shepherd as she and her family navigate, negotiate, and survive the twentieth century. Each chapter moves from child to child, and through them Mathis paints a portrait of a mother who has sacrificed everything, not for her children’s happiness, but for their mere existence. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is an accomplishment in that even while Mathis shows us the depths of selfishness, cruelty, and betrayal, she finds moments to let a ray of light shine through dirty windows. She allows her characters to be real – infuriatingly and often tragically real – but so real that you’ll be frustrated at their failings and joyful at their moments of quiet optimism. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is a book that will live with you long after the last page. It is a book that showcases the talent of a powerful new voice in fiction, and it is certainly a book that deserves to be on everyone’s list this holiday. I loved, loved, loved this book.
Date published: 2014-02-09

– More About This Product –

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie

by Ayana Mathis

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 243 pages, 9.5 × 6.5 × 0.88 in

Published: December 6, 2012

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1443423467

ISBN - 13: 9781443423465

From the Publisher

Oprah''s Book Club 2.0 Pick!

In 1923, seventeen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia for Philadelphia, where, though her first two babies die because she can''t afford medicine, she keeps nine children alive with old southern remedies and sheer love. Saddled with a husband who brings her nothing but disappointment, she prepares her children for a world she knows will not be kind to them. Their trials are the trials on which the history of America was forged, a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, and a force stronger than love or trouble: the determination to get by and get through. A searing portrait of an unforgettable family, an emotionally transfixing drama of human striving in the face of insurmountable adversity and a ferocious vision of humanity at its most threadbare and elemental, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie introduces a writer of the very first order.

About the Author

AYANA MATHIS is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she studied under Paul Harding and Marilynne Robinson, and is a recipient of the Michener-Copernicus Fellowship. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie is her first novel.

From Our Editors

In 1923, seventeen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia for Philadelphia, where, though her first two babies die because she can't afford medicine, she keeps nine children alive with old southern remedies and sheer love. Saddled with a husband who brings her nothing but disappointment, she prepares her children for a world she knows will not be kind to them. Their trials are the trials on which the history of America was forged, a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit, and a force stronger than love or trouble: the determination to get by and get through. A searing portrait of an unforgettable family, an emotionally transfixing drama of human striving in the face of insurmountable adversity and a ferocious vision of humanity at its most threadbare and elemental, The Twelve Tribes of Hattie introduces a writer of the very first order.

Editorial Reviews

"A vibrant and compassionate portrait of a family hardened and scattered by circumstance and yet deeply a family. Its language is elegant in tits purity and rigour... This first novel is a rare work of maturity." -- Marilynne Robinson ()
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